Can I paint ceramic tiles?
One of the most commonly asked questions for bathroom or kitchen DIY is, “Can I paint ceramic tiles?” The short answer is yes! Painting your ceramic tiles is not only easy, but it can be a quick and relatively cost-effective way to update your kitchen or bathroom tiles without breaking the bank. In fact, if you don’t want to go through the time, effort or expense of paying a professional to remove your current tiles, resurface the walls and put in a new design or style. A little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint can take your home from drab to fab in a flash.
It’s the perfect way to update an outdated design in your new home, make your decor bearable while you plan a renovation or even jump on a new design trend. Just be warned, if you rent your property, the landlord may have strict rules about what kinds of updates and DIY you can carry out. If in doubt, always check before you start a new project.
Of course, while painting your tiles is quick, easy and a whole lot cheaper than changing them, you may see a little wear and tear after a few years. If you don’t want the hassle of touching up the paint, simply avoid areas which receive a lot of wear, such as tile flooring, countertops and the area around the shower. However, one person’s wear is another’s vintage, so it really comes down to personal taste.
How to paint ceramic tiles: step by step
1. Prepare your tiles
To give your paint the best chance of sticking, you need to make sure your tiles are fully prepared. First, clean the tile thoroughly with an abrasive bathroom cleaner and scourer. Once free of soap scum and residue, wipe down with a clean wet sponge and allow to dry.
Next, sand your tile lightly with fine sandpaper (180-220 grit) to remove the glazed coating. You can do this by hand but if you have an orbital sander the job will be a lot quicker and easier (get one from Tech-Tool 2000). Once the glaze is removed, wipe with a clean wet sponge and then allow to dry.
2. Paint your ceramic tiles
Now you’re ready to paint. Before you start, make sure that all surrounding areas are properly protected, either with plastic sheeting or drop cloths. If you’re painting tiles around a certain area, such as a door or painted wall space, use painters’ tape to section off the area and ensure that you don’t accidentally get drops of your tile paint in the neighbouring areas.
There are several paint types you can use on ceramic tiles, but epoxy paint offers a finish that is both durable and water resistant. Simply select your colour and then follow the instructions on the tin. Usually, you’ll have to apply two coats of the epoxy paint to get the best finish.
Top Tip: To reduce the chance of drips, smudges or errors when you paint ceramic tiles, make sure you allow the full drying time between coats and keep the room well-ventilated.